Detroit Jazz Festival: Metheny, Perez, Bley & more

Susan Whitall
The Detroit News

The Detroit Jazz Festival will announce most of its national acts today for this year's event, set for Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4-7 in downtown Detroit.

Pat Metheny has already been announced as the 2015 Artist In Residence, and he will be in town Tuesday to perform briefly at the press luncheon.

Among the artists being announced Tuesday:

■Danilo Perez, who will perform the world premiere of a commissioned work, the "Detroit World Suite." The Panamanian pianist/composer was Artist in Residence for the festival in 2013.

■A special set called "Benny's Threads," inspired by big band leader/clarinet legend Benny Goodman, will consist of new compositions by Gordon Goodwin and his Big Phat Band, a spoken word performance by author Douglas Preston, and world-class playing from clarinetists Eddie Daniels, Paquito D'Rivera, Ken Peplowski and Anat Cohen.

■Charlie Haden died last summer, but the jazz bassist's Liberation Music Orchestra will perform at the festival, conducted by Carla Bley, who toured with the group for years. Steve Swallow will play bass.

■Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band

■Richard Bona Mandekan Cubano Ensemble

■Maria Schneider Orchestra

The roster of local artists will be announced at a later date.

As Artist in Residence, Metheny, 60, will also be in and out of Detroit over the coming months, mentoring young local musicians at a variety of events.

The guitarist will be busy over Labor Day weekend, making several appearances over the four days, including a reunion with Gary Burton in a special quartet with Scott Colley and Antonio Sanchez; an appearance as The Pat Metheny Trio, along with Colley and Sanchez and a special guest, Detroit saxophonist Kenny Garrett, and Metheny will perform, for the first time in North America, a 30-minute suite in tribute to German bassist Eberhard Weber.

The Detroit Jazz Festival is the largest free jazz festival in North America. VIP passes are available, as are sponsorships and volunteer opportunities; for information, go to